MADRAS, Ore. - (Update: FBI releases details of drug raids, names of those arrested)
A joint operation and series of raids early Wednesday involving the FBI, DEA and Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team resulted in the federal arrest of nine people charged with participation in a drug distribution network operating in the Madras/Redmond area, the agencies announced Thursday.
CODE Team officers and deputies arrested three others on state charges. Two of those additional arrests involved outstanding warrants; the third was a probable cause arrest for drug and weapons charges. Another person previously arrested in Deschutes County now also faces a federal charge in the case.
"All arrests were without incident," an FBI news release stated. The federal defendants were making their initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Jolie Russo at the U.S. District Courthouse in Eugene at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele told NewsChannel 21 she could not provide specifics on the number or locations of raids, or whether more suspects are outstanding, noting that most or all of the documents remain sealed.
As part of this operation, law enforcement also identified 11 drug-endangered minors. Jefferson County Child Welfare took immediate custody of five of the children, and the FBI filed mandatory child abuse reports for all identified minors.
Law enforcement partnered with victim assistance programs within the FBI and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, as well as with Jefferson County Child Welfare.
"Since this investigation began in 2016, law enforcement believes the organization has trafficked both heroin and methamphetamine throughout Central Oregon," the announcement said. "In a series of searches conducted in conjunction with the arrests on Wednesday, investigators also recovered 10 weapons."
The 12 defendants and their charges are as follows:
Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin (federal)
- Lima, Mauricio - age 36 of Madras, Oregon
- Dominguez, Isaac - age 32 of Madras, Oregon
- Harper, Sherry - age 45 of Redmond, Oregon
Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (federal)
- Boynton, Heather - age 26 of Madras, Oregon
- Plazola, Desmond - age 29 of Warm Springs, Oregon
- Barajas, Leonel - age 29 of Madras, Oregon
- Billingsley, Trever - age 26 of Madras, Oregon
Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin (federal)
- Mortensen, Preston - age 29 of Bend, Oregon
Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine (federal)
- Biever, Marlena - age 38 of Redmond, Oregon
Parole violation charge (Jefferson County warrant)
- Eric Brian Wilkinson, age 43, hometown unknown
Failure to Appear for theft 3rd degree (Deschutes County warrant)
- Lindsy Renee Haney, age 22, of Redmond, Oregon
Unlawful possession of methamphetamine (state charge)
Unlawful delivery of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school (state charge)
Felon in possession of a firearm -- 3 counts (state charges)
- Juan Jose Vega, age 27, of Culver, Oregon
In addition to these arrests, CODE and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office previously arrested Colt Sipp, age 51 of Umatilla, Oregon, on state charges. He now also faces a federal charge of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
"This unified law enforcement effort is a significant step in dismantling a drug trafficking organization profiting off the destruction of families and communities in Central Oregon suffering the ravages of drug addiction," said Billy J. Williams, U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon.
According to investigators, Lima and Dominguez are alleged to have operated two cells in the Madras area, and, as such, served as distributors of methamphetamine and heroin to a large customer base in Central Oregon.
:The cells worked in coordination with each other to supply drugs and transfer funds to further the conspiracy using code in their communications in an attempt to hide their illegal activity," the FBI said. "The investigators believe that the other defendants served under Lima and Dominguez to move the drugs to lower-level sellers and users."
"The work done by these agents, officers, detectives and deputies will have real and lasting impacts for those who live in Central Oregon. This law enforcement team has, over a period of many months, taken direct aim at organized crime," said Loren Cannon, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. "Together they have made our shared community safer by taking dangerous drugs and guns off the streets."
"The successful operation this week was designed to counter the emerging threat in Central Oregon against organized crime fueled by methamphetamine and heroin trafficking," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis.
The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force supported by the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program and the following Central Oregon law enforcement agencies:
Bend Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Redmond Police Department, Prineville Police Department, Crook County Sheriff's Office, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Madras Police Department, Oregon State Police, Sunriver Police Department, Black Butte Police Department, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Warm Springs Tribal Police Department, Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson County District Attorney's, and the Oregon National Guard.
The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement task forces to disrupt or dismantle local, multi-state and international drug trafficking organizations.
Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Huynh is prosecuting this case.
"A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and all defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty," the news release concluded.
A series of raids by the FBI, federal drug agents and Central Oregon law enforcement across a wide swath of the region early Wednesday led to a dozen arrests on federal and local charges, the FBI confirmed later in the day.
Nine people were arrested on federal charges and three on local charges — two on existing state warrants and one probable cause arrest on a state charge by Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team officers and deputies, Oregon FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele told NewsChannel 21,
With the investigation still underway, no names are being released until Thursday, Steele said. She also provided no details on the nature of the charges or locations of the arrests.
For now, Steele would only say there were “multiple search warrants mostly conducted at locations associated with the arrests.”
She said the “arrests took place at multiple locations throughout Central Oregon, but concentrated in the Madras/Redmond area.”
The FBI spokeswoman also stressed that “all federal arrests were based on alleged criminal activity, not immigration charges.”
Other agencies also were involved, including the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Undersheriff Marc Heckathorn said they could not release any details "due to the sensitive and active investigation underway."
Steele told NewsChannel 21 earlier Wednesday, "The FBI, DEA and CODE served a series of search and arrest warrants today in Central Oregon."
"Due to the ongoing nature of events as well as the fact that the charging documents and search warrants are sealed, there's not anything more that we will be able to say today," Steele said.
"I anticipate that those arrested will make an initial appearance in federal court tomorrow (Thursday) in Eugene," she added.
Several Madras and Culver residents told NewsChannel 21 of hearing loud banging noises and seeing numerous police officers and FBI agents on area streets, possibly accompanied by members of the Central Oregon Emergency Response (SWAT) Team. There were unconfirmed reports of at least one raid in the Warm Springs area as well.
"Madras this morning sounded like downtown LA -- SWAT/CODE teams, FBI, helicopters and multiple search warrants," a resident who asked not to be named told NewsChannel 21 by email.
"I think this is great, as we need a good clean-up here," the writer added. "Hopefully it will freak out the criminals enough to move far, far away."
One person living on SW J and Madison Streets in Madras told NewsChannel 21's Pedro Quintana that a home was raided in the neighborhood -- and this wasn't the first time it had happened.
Just last week, police raided the same home.
According to the FBI, the nine people facing federal charges will be arraigned on Thursday.